Kendrick Perkins equates Giannis Antetokounmpo to Cavs version of LeBron James

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David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins was impressed by Giannis Antetokounmpo’s performance in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, comparing it to when LeBron James played for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Perkins appeared on the network’s weekday morning program “Get Up” and spoke about how Antetokounmpo’s all-around abilities appear similar to those of the Cavaliers version of James.

“Giannis Antetokounmpo is giving me that LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers vibes, meaning that any team that’s trying to come out of the Eastern Conference, I think Giannis is gonna be standing in their way,” Perkins said.

After leading the Milwaukee Bucks to their first NBA title in a half-century last season, Antetokounmpo is continuing to deliver for the Bucks this year. In that Game 1 performance against the Boston Celtics, Antetokounmpo collected a triple-double with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists while also adding a pair of blocks.

James helped eliminate the Celtics in the postseason on multiple occasions while with the Cavaliers, usually offering performances similar to what Antetokounmpo accomplished on Sunday.

During his second stint with the Cavs from 2014 to 2018, James led the team to the Finals in each season and helped capture the franchise’s first and only NBA title in 2016. As one of his teammates during a small portion of that time, Perkins got an up-close look at what James was capable of on the basketball court.

That four-year run of consecutive Eastern Conference titles matched what James had done as a member of the Miami Heat. It also established him as the chief roadblock for every Eastern Conference team seeking a title.

Right now, Antetokounmpo has only led his team to one Eastern Conference championship, so he’s got quite a way to go before matching James’ feat. However, with more dominating performances like Game 1, Antetokounmpo is getting closer to establishing himself in the same mold as James.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.